Great writers have a special way with words. They have a special way with storytelling. They have a special way with building memorable characters. They know drama. They understand jeopardy. They understand their audience, and they never deceive their audience.
The thing is, great writers got that way by persevering. Yes, they have skill, but they developed that skill by writing and writing every day. They never quit. They push through the hard times when the creative juices might not be flowing. They push through rejection and failure. They let nothing come between them and their time in front of the typewriter, with their computer, or with notebook in hand.
- Good writing takes practice.
- Good writing takes study.
- Good writing is about mastering a craft.
- Great writing is when the practice and the study and the craft emerge as an art.
Good writers don’t wad up page after page and toss them into the trash can; that’s the thing of movies. Good writers commit themselves to the evolution of their work by rewriting and revising and putting their egos aside. Good writers share their work and welcome constructive criticism. Good writers read great writers and learn from them.
Great writers make certain, as E.B. White liked to say, “That every word ‘tells.’” This doesn’t come without hard work, and great writers aren’t afraid to work hard. More importantly, they aren’t afraid to work smart. This means knowing your craft and then putting your own creative slant on the craft. That’s the first step in creating art.
Good writers are positive. They know when their writing needs work, and they feel a sense of pride when it feels right. Great writers are humble. They aren’t seeking perfection, just a level of quality that comes with dedication. They love sharing what they’ve done, even in the face of criticism.
Good writers are afraid to fail. Great writers know that failing is just an obstacle to be overcome in the face of something special. Good writers do the work even if it sucks. Great writers do the work until it sucks a little bit less. Then they keep going. Great writers know when they can get better, and they don’t call a project done until it is better.